[From the name of the Persian sage Zarathustra (6th or 7th century BCE).]

  1. (religion) Perhaps the first example of monotheism among the religions of the world, Zoroastrianism held that there is a neverending struggle between good or truth and evil or deceit (a kind of dualism that influenced both gnosticism and Manicheism), that human beings have free will to choose between good and evil, and that individuals are subject to a final judgment assigning them to eternal salvation or damnation. Scholars speculate that the monotheism and messianism of Zoroastrianism had an influence on Middle Eastern religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, that early Buddhism was a reaction against the dogmatic ethical and religious certainties of Zarathustra, and that the very word philosophy is derived from Mazdayasna or "worship of wisdom" (the Avestan name for Zoroastrianism).

The Ism Book by Peter Saint-Andre

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